I live in a blue neighborhood in a blue city in a blue state: this has been an excuse for not acting politically.
Hey, I don’t have to do anything, my rep’s gonna vote right, my senators’ll vote (mostly) right.
But that ain’t right, and I need to step up. I’ve written one letter to each, and need to write or call regularly to say Hold the line! And with the mayor and my city council member, too.
Still, there’s more that could be done, especially when it’s important to hang the Trump anchor around and drag each and every Republican in the House and Senate. So I’m going to adopt a red district.
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, so I’ve decided to adopt James Sensenbrenner and, by extension, Ron Johnson. Johnson just won re-election and Sensenbrenner has held his seat forever, but what the hell: why not spend some time tracking each and every thing these fuckers do, then coordinate with some Badger Democrats? Besides, Tammy Baldwin is up for re-election in 2018, so I’ll see what I can do for her campaign. (Oh, and whoever runs against Scott Walker? You betchyer ass I’ll be all over that.)
Or, y’know, maybe coordinate with some Badger Democrats, first, and go from there.
I’m not much for marching, anymore, and I don’t need to track the media—there are enough media people tracking the media—so why not do something I can do? Research, hunting down and collating information, maybe a little analysis.
Is this something you, similarly surrounded in blue, can do? Try it! Pick a place at random! Pick a place where you once had a pleasing interaction with a waitress at a roadside diner! Pick the place of your first kiss or last kiss or where you think would be a good kissing place! Pick a town whose name you love saying out loud and figure out who represents it!
Then contact the local Dems and say Hi, I love the sound of your town and have some skills and would like to help you elect Democrats, what can I do?
Or maybe you’re shy and not sure you can call out of the blue, so do some work and publish it to social media or maybe send an abashed email saying Hi, I love the sound of your town and have some skills so here’s some work I did that I thought might help you elect Democrats.
Now, one of the things I’ll be doing is looking at similarly situated districts, see which ones are repped by Dems, then look at how that person won. I’ll dig into historic voting data, demographic data, census—the whole megillah.
It’ll also be worth looking at what Dems did in Nevada and North Carolina: Clinton beat Trump in Nevada and the Dems took the governorship from a Walker-level guv in NC, so there’s probably something to be learned from each.
Okay, I’m being a bit scattered, here: I’m neither an Americanist nor a statistician and I don’t quite know what are the best places to find this info. The Cook Political Report seems a good place to start, and I’ll poke around the US Census site; county-level date presidential election data is available in chart form here (click on “Detailed Results”) and as in an interactive map here. I’ll also be (re-) reading Jameson Quinn’s work with Center for Election Science (the first dispatch published here) for some guidance on how to make sense of the stats.
It’s a start, and while I might not know what I’m doing right now, I think I’ll get the hang of it as I go along. I’ll keep you posted—and hey, if you’re doing something like this or something not at all like this, lemme know!